Only about 30 percent of China’s landmass is habitable with approximately 40% of it’s land covered by mountains (in the southwest) and an additional 25% deserts (in the northwest). The maps above display that 94% of China’s population lives on the eastern side of it’s territory. The map below displays the location of China’s deserts and arid regions.
China and India make of 40% of the world’s population and although this figure seems strikingly high, estimates from 1 AD indicate the China and India combined for 60% percent of world population back then! Anyone who has visited either country is aware that both have very high population density. For comparison, world population density is 140 people per square mile – India is about 10 times that with 1008 people per square mile (ppsm) and China is 370 ppsm. Given what we know about the geography of China, this density estimate is quite low and once discounting it’s uninhabitable land, China’s density is more around 1233 ppsm. (Given that about 25% of India’s land is uninhabitable, a more direct comparison would put India density at 1344 ppsm). For those interested, here is the population density for some other countries: European Union (UK included) 304 ppsm, United States 85 ppsm, Brazil 62 ppsm, Russia 21 ppsm, and Canada 9 ppsm.